Is it Right to Occupy Wall Street?

Always do right. It will gratify some and astonish the others.” Mark Twain

There’s something soothing about this statement from Mark Twain. It’s as if what is right or wrong is clearly defined and you and I, his readers, know the difference. Hence, some are gratified (those who also always do right) while others are astonished for knowing what is right, they choose to do something else (or they are astonished that you are choosing to do what is right)!

“What’s ‘right’ is up for grabs.”

“It’s not so clear anymore” some say.  “If it’s right for you great, but don’t lay your definition of right on me – I have different priorities and values and they are just as right as yours!” It’s like a mantra sometimes.

Today, May 1, 2012, we have going on right now in downtown Seattle, something that I think is clearly wrong. The Occupy Wall Street folks – at least that’s the biggest banner floating, are marching through Seattle. Nothing wrong with that – they got the permits and the permission to march. However, for some, they apparently think they also have the right to destroy property, (and not just business but personal property as well), and to accost / attack citizens who are not participating in the march. Hopefully it will end before turning into something more violent tonight when under the cover of darkness malevolent people seek to do more damage.

How did we as a people lose sight of what is right and wrong?

When did destruction of private property, or business property become OK?

Why is it OK to attack someone who doesn’t agree with you, but isn’t obstructing your right to voice your opinion?

What about us business owners? What is right for us?

Will a small business stay in business if the owner has no clear understanding of what is right?  We build our businesses on TRUST. I trust you to do what you say you will do, to provide the quality of product and services at the prices you have quoted. You TRUST me to do the same. If that doesn’t happen, we have recourse without the violence. We have either the court system or social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp which can make poor business practices known faster than the blink of an eye. It seems like we, the small business owners, know the difference between right and wrong. Maybe that’s part of what makes the business class so important?

There’s an old proverb that goes something like this: “Make me rich enough that I am not tempted to steal and poor enough to remember to be truly grateful”. IWish I could remember the source.

What do you think? In business are there absolutes? Or is right and wrong defined by what economic or intellectual culture you came from?

If you have an opinion, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I hope you aren’t trapped in downtown Seattle!

Do You Really Want That?

“If men could regard the events of their own lives with more open minds, they would frequently discover that they did not really desire the things they failed to obtain.”  Andrew Maurois

What do I want?  I have to snicker because the first question that comes to mind is Byron Katie’s “Is that true?  Can you know that it is absolutely true?”  Perhaps another way to ask is “Do you want it enough to pay the price in time money and energy /effort to get it?”

One of my teachers used to say, “There’s always enough time money and energy”  meaning of course that it’s a matter of priorities and choices made along the way.
 
Kenneth Blanchard says the difference between a goal and a dream is that the goal has a deadline.

What do you really desire? 
Are you willing to put in the time money and energy to get it? 

If not, why not own it? 

What happens if you acknowledge that what you’ve been talking about getting / creating (but all you’ve been doing is talking) is something you really aren’t ready or willing to pay the price for?  Who’s going to be shocked?  Probably no one but you!

Also, consider this:  by holding onto something that I’m not willing to put in the time and effort and money for, I’ve got an energy suck going on that’s robbing me of mental energy for things that really are more important.  Why hold onto an “energy suck”?  Image maintenance maybe?  Keep someone off my back?

But, if I’m really accountable for my results, I have to acknowledge I’m not getting the results I say I want because I don’t want them enough to get them.  What freedom! 

If there’s a project you’ve been talking about, longing to finish, a New Year’s Resolution that you want to see resolved this year check out “It’s Not Too Late to End the Year Great!” at http://simplyeffectivecoaching.com/its-not-too-late-to-end-the-year-great-2

Register on-line for $20 discount.  It’s 4 hours to spend on your project plan, create clear action plan, establish support structures so you can savor the sweet delights of success.

Is it Hard to Change?

That depends.  If I’m not the one initiating change, or worse, not even asked my opinion about the change – it’s very hard! 

Case in point:  I belong to a charitable organization that started with just seven of us.  Today it numbers close to 250.  In those early days we were like a family.  Today we are like a community.  In the early days I played a significant role, today six people share that role.  I’m not one of the six.  Things change.

Last night I heard about another change that moves us away from the “one family” into segments.  Like a company whose annual picnic changes to departmental picnics on different days at different parks creates a shift in the company culture this change is also going to create a change in the organizational culture.  That hurts.

Whether good or bad is still to be seen, but I wasn’t part of the decision making, so it hurts even more.  I found myself in a blue funk for a couple of days until I realized I needed to make some changes and I had some choices to make:

  1. I can resist what is, be miserable about it, make people around me miserable with my griping and complaining OR I can
  2. Communicate my concerns with the leadership seeking to get things changed back by working through channels
  3. Get involved in a leadership role again
  4. Take the time to understand why this change was initiated, what problem is it the answer to and seek a different solution that does not break us down into segments
  5. Embrace the change and see what there is for me to learn in the process
  6. Accept that this change is what is and determine my own path, level of commitment and continued involvement
  7. Leave the organization to go its own path recognizing that someday our paths may diverge.

The only choice that is unacceptable is the first.  I want no place in my life for resisting complaining or griping.  That’s the song of the Victim.  I have yet to meet a successful business owner who is a Victim.  Have You?

If you’re facing a change and struggling with it, let’s talk.  Change is hard, but we don’t have to be the victim of change — or our emotions.

 

Financial Recovery – a Book Review

I work with small business owners on the personal side of being in business. One of the most personal aspects of business, which is usually the least talked about is personal and professional finances. However, what happens when a business owner is sloppy about the finances? Bankruptcy, closed doors, lost jobs, broken dreams are just the beginning. Let’s say it just isn’t pretty.

Because small business owners are among those suffering during this economically stressful time Andrew Barber-Starkey of ProCoach Systems suggested I read “Financial Recovery” written by Karen McCall. What is happening as a result of my read is clarifying inspiring and enlightening to say the least. Having read it I immediately thought of my some of my clients who are struggling and recommended it to them. They, like many of the people in her case studies, are seeing positive results.

Are you plagued by Under earning? Doing without? Making do? Overspending? Why? Do you find yourself making choices you know are not in your best financial interest but rationalize your way around those choices anyway? Why? Karen gets you to the root cause behind those choices. But she doesn’t stop there. She provides good solid steps for getting out of debt and changing those behaviors for good. It isn’t necessarily easy to make those changes, but she provides you step by step instructions with real life case studies showing how those small steps can make a big difference. She also provides software designed for those of us for whom working with numbers is a major challenge all of its own.

Are you ready for something different for yourself, your kids, and your business? Check out “Financial Recovery”. You’ll be glad you did!

Is this a Love/Hate Relationship?

Don’t you just love and yet sometimes hate being the CEO of your own business?

This has been a most unexpected journey, a mind stretcher, horizon expander and the opportunity of a life time. It’s been filled with fear and panic. It’s been a challenge. It’s like a roller coaster ride full of screams of terror and delight. It’s been boring and exciting and everything in between.

I know these life expanding moments are not limited to the owners of small businesses. Anyone who decides to take responsibility for his or her own life and especially their income is going to feel some of the same emotions. I just didn’t know it was going to be like this when I started. Like a therapist friend of mine said, “I didn’t become a therapist so I could run a business. I did it to help people.” I wonder how many others in service fields blindly entered into business thinking just being a good _______________ (fill in the blank) is all it takes.

One of my coaches made the comment, “Leona, you have to be a coach, it’s your path to self-actualization”. In being in business for myself as a coach, I’ve had to face my fears square on, toe to toe. I’ve had to stare my demons down and move forward despite the knot in my stomach and the all too clear voice in my head telling me I am going to fail.

Even so, as each coaching call ends there comes the exhilaration of knowing I am doing what I was created to do, being who I was created to be – and there’s no greater thrill.

How about you? What’s it like being the CEO of your own business? What are the challenges you’ve overcome and continue to face? What are the keys to your success?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What Do You Do For Love?

What do you do because you love of the other person?

How do you answer the call to business and the call to family, especially when the time commitment conflicts?

Today my Dad is back in the hospital.  It feels like we’re beginning that long hopefully slow end of life cycle with several trips some critical and others less critical.  And I face a quandary.  He’s bored out of his mind, wants to come home, wants people to come and visit and someone to talk to.   I’m the one who lives closest to him – the other sisters are hour or more away, but I’ve got a business to run.  I spent the weekend in the hospital with him, but I’ve got to get some of my work done too. 

Quandary:  How to decide where to spend my time and how much time to spend where?  What are the priorities and values I am to call upon to make this decision? 

I remember watching a movie about an up and coming Olympic skater who was killed in an auto accident just before tryouts.  He’d made it all that way.  His father, a small business owner had never seen his son skate – because he had a business to run, money to earn to pay for his son’s skating lessons etc.  He thought he would get to watch him skate someday – but that day never came.

I don’t want to have those feelings left over when Dad’s departure comes, but I also can’t be putting my business on hold every time he or one of my kids or my husband gets sick.

I know this isn’t unique to me.  It’s something we all face as business owners, especially if you also are a single parent.  .I’m wondering what others do.  How do you decide where to put your time and energy, especially when it seems like you are being called upon to spend it in more than one place / event at a time?

For me, this time I asked, “Is Dad safe and well-cared for? (Yes)  “Is this illness, at least at this time life-threatening?” (No)  “Does he NEED me there or is it more a matter of convenience – a keeping him company in an otherwise boring situation?” (No he doesn’t need me there to prove I love him, just to be someone to talk to)  “Having spent the last 2 days there with him, can my business tolerate my absence and prosper?” (No)

Those are the questions I asked myself.  What are the questions you ask yourself?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Want to chat – to explore your options?  Drop me a line and let me know what you think at leona@simplyeffectivecoaching.com

 

 

Words to Live By on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day – a day of romance, flowers, chocolate, and pretty cards, a day of expectations of special treatment and loving words. If you are a business owner and even if you are swamped and fatigued there are certain rituals you are expected to perform – a special meal is just a starter. It’s considered prudent to make sure that special someone gets something special.

Well for all you men who need a little more guidance in the art of meeting expectations, here’s someone who provides us with a few choice words Title: “These Are the Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife”

Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

When Love Goes to Work

February is the month for love: Love your spouse, your kids, your pet, even the grumpy neighbor down the street or the employee who’s a pain in the, well, you know where.

I’m all about love – who isn’t? AND I’m also all about implementation, so when someone tells me to “forgive” another person and I’m still hurting or angry I ask, “HOW? Usually the answer is “just do it!” That didn’t make much sense!    No more than telling me to “trust?  Just trust!”

How do you “just forgive” someone who has hurt you? How do you “forgive?” Then one day I was introduced to Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is”. This book provides the “HOW?”

At first glance it looks easy (funny how that is)! However when you get into the process, altho’ the process is easy, it’s takes time. When you are a newbie to “The Work” it simply takes time – to spill your thoughts and emotions onto paper and then get honest with yourself. There are four questions to answer – just four – and something she calls the “Turnaround”. What’s amazing is what happens when you take the time to answer thoughtfully and honestly. And with practice it begins to take less and less time!

Feeling stressed by a situation? Answer the four questions and do the Turnaround. See what happens with the stress. Bugged by someone? Answer the four questions and feel the shift happen deep inside you. I answered the four questions and am amazed at the changes that happened in a troubled relationship.

Byron Katie is also very generous. You can go to her website and download the four questions and Turnaround, a variety of worksheets and read more about “The Work” and how doing the work changes lives. Check out It’s all about implementation. When you think about it, what’s the good of an insight if there is no practical way to apply it?

Wishing you a Lovely week!

Leona

Oh the Routine – It Feels Sooo Good!

I’m so glad to be back into a routine!  December took me by surprise.  First we flew to Arizona to watch our son graduate magnum cum laude(bragging mother moment), drove to the Grand Canyon (YIKES!) then back home only to see my dad admitted to the hospital.  Brought him home for Christmas (Thank You, Lord!) and now my days are getting back some semblence of order.  Until my daughter and her two boys (ages 5 and 1) arrive!

Lesson:  Plan ahead, blog ahead and using the nifty tools of WordPress.  And when Life hands out a lemon and I’m busy making lemonade be kind to myself.  Priorities have to change to align with values and that’s OK!

AND – I can start now to go back and read what you’ve all written during the month of December and get caught up. 

Wishing you all a wonderfully bright New Year filled with love, joy, peace and time to enjoy smelling the roses!

Godzilla the Wiener Dog

“Fear is a threshold phenomenon, the threshold of a new adventure” Doug McKegney.

Doug was my first coach and now a good friend.  In those early days fear pretty much kept me paralyzed as I wanted to venture out into the world of coaching.  Doug was the first to tell me that fear is like the shadow of Godzilla only to find when exposed to the light of day, that it’s a wiener dog.  It’s a matter of perspective. 

Today’s gift, if I could give you a gift would be the gift of Perspective.  Life provides many events, situations, joys, sorrows, frustrations and disappointments.  However, it’s not the event that makes or breaks the person – it’s how we respond to it – the meaning we give to it.  

I’ve quoted Viktor Frankl before because what he wrote is so meaningful to me.  A Jewish psychiatrist imprisoned in Auschwitz Germany during World War Two, beaten more than once he later wrote,  “In the concentration camps…we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints.  Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.” 

As we enter the holiday season with all its hustle and bustle, all the frenetic energy that goes into creating a just so “perfect experience”, as that person cuts us off in line or the store runs out of your favorite (fill in the blank), as the wants exceed the money available, as things just don’t go right, my gift would be a different “Perspective”:  To choose a different more empowering interpretation of the event unfolding before you, to embrace rather than resist or resent the moment.  As teacher, speaker, coach Jim Sorenson says, “Don’t let that guy who just cut in front of you, drive away with your good mood in his trunk!”  In that moment that event may feel like a Godzilla, but in taking a different perspective it becomes the wiener dog.